United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
the Court is the motion for summary judgment of the sole
remaining defendant, University Hospitals Health Systems,
Inc. (“University Hospitals”). (Doc. No. 25
[“MSJ”].) Pro se plaintiff Frank Miller, Jr.
(“Miller”) filed a response in opposition (Doc.
No. 28 [“Opp'n”]), and University Hospitals
filed a reply (Doc. No. 29 [“Reply”]). For the
reasons set forth herein, University Hospitals' motion
for summary judgment is granted and this case is dismissed.
was employed by University Hospitals from 2005 to May 2015.
(Doc. No. 25-1, Declaration of Heather Harmon [“Harmon
Decl.”] ¶¶ 2, 12.) During that entire time,
Miller held the position of administrative assistant.
(Id. ¶ 2.) In 2014, Miller was assigned to work
as an administrative assistant in the Government and
Community Relations Department (“Government
Relations”), where he reported to Heidi Gartland
(“Gartland”). (Id. ¶ 2; Doc. No.
25-3, Declaration of Heidi Gartland [“Gartland
Decl.”] ¶ 2.)
2014, Miller's last full year of employment with
University Hospitals, there were forty-six (46) individuals
employed as administrative assistants, including Miller.
Miller was paid a higher wage than thirty-eight (38) of the
other administrative assistants. Each of the administrative
assistants who was paid more than Miller had a higher
performance rating and/or more seniority than Miller. (Harmon
Decl. ¶ 3; see also Doc. No. 25-2 (“MSJ
2015 annual budget was being prepared, Gartland was informed
by her superior, Steven Standley, that Government Relations
would be required to eliminate one full-time position due to
budget constraints. (Gartland Decl. ¶ 3; Harmon Decl.
¶ 4.) The reduction in force was not just occurring in
Government Relations; it was implemented system wide, with a
total of eighty-eight (88) positions eliminated. (Harmon
Decl. ¶ 4; see also Doc. No. 25-4 (“MSJ
and Harmon conferred, reviewing the operations of the
department to determine which position, if eliminated, would
have the least impact on efficiency. At the time, Government
Relations included a director, an intern, a manager, an
executive secretary, and an administrative assistant
(i.e., Miller). (Doc. No. 25-5 (“MSJ Ex.
5”).) Gartland determined that Miller's job
functions could be assumed by other current employees, so his
position was selected for elimination. (Gartland Decl. ¶
4; Harmon Decl. ¶ 5.)
January 14, 2015, as a result of the decision to eliminate
Miller's position, Harmon directed that a proposed
Separation Agreement be hand-delivered to Miller. (Harmon
Decl. ¶ 6; see also Doc. No. 25-12 (“MSJ
Ex. 12”).) Gartland met with Miller to advise him of
his position's elimination. (Gartland Decl. ¶ 6.) As
with all other non-supervisory employees whose jobs were
eliminated, Miller was offered the option of accepting a
severance package or electing lay-off status under the
University Hospitals' policy. (Harmon Decl. ¶ 9;
see also Doc. No. 25-7 (“MSJ Ex.
7”).) Miller chose the latter, which entitled
him to lay-off status until May 1, 2015. (Harmon Decl. ¶
10; see also Doc. No. 25-8 (“MSJ Ex.
on lay-off status, as was his right, Miller applied for
thirteen (13) other positions at University
Hospitals. Of these, he failed to meet the minimum
requirements for eight (8) positions; two (2)
positions were canceled and not filled; and three (3)
positions were filled by candidates whose qualifications and
experience levels made them better suited for each position
and whose salary requirements were much lower than
Miller's. (Harmon Decl. ¶ 11.)
1, 2015, since Miller had not been hired for another position
with University Hospitals, his employment ended and he
received a severance payment in accordance with University
Hospitals' policy. This was the last payment Miller
received from University Hospitals. (Id. ¶ 12.)
Following the elimination of Miller's position as
administrative assistant at University Hospitals, Miller was
not replaced and another administrative assistant was not
hired. (Gartland Decl. ¶ 7.)
7, 2017, Miller filed the instant action. Although his
complaint is not a model of clarity, it appears to set forth
claims of discrimination under the following federal
statutes: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42
U.S.C. § 2000e to 2000e-17 (“Title VII”);
Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, 29 U.S.C.
§§ 621-634 (“ADEA”); Americans with
Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12112-12117
(“ADA”); and the Lilly [sic] Ledbetter Fair Pay
Act of 2009 (“Equal Pay Act”). (Doc. No. 1,
Complaint [“Compl.”] at 9.)
STANDARD ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
party files a motion for summary judgment, it must be granted
“if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute
as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a).
A party asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely
disputed must support the assertion by: (A) citing to
particular parts of materials in the record . . . or (B)
showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence
or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party
cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1).
reviewing summary judgment motions, this Court must view the
evidence in a light most favorable to the nonmoving party to
determine whether a genuine issue of material fact exists.
Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 157,
90 S.Ct. 1598, 26 L.Ed.2d 142 (1970); White v. Turfway
Park Racing Ass'n, Inc., 909 F.2d 941, 943-44 (6th
Cir. 1990), impliedly overruled on other grounds by Salve
Regina Coll. v. Russell, 499 U.S. 225, 111 S.Ct. 1217,
113 L.Ed.2d 190 (1991). In most civil cases the Court must
decide “whether reasonable jurors could find by a
preponderance of the evidence that the [nonmoving party] is
entitled to a verdict[.]” Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91
L.Ed.2d 202 (1986).
the moving party has presented evidence sufficient to support
a motion for summary judgment, the nonmoving party is not
entitled to trial merely on the basis of allegations;
significant probative evidence must be presented to support
the complaint.” Goins v. Clorox Co., 926 F.2d
559, 561 (6th Cir. 1991). The party opposing the motion for
summary judgment may not rely solely on the pleadings but
must present evidence supporting the claims asserted by the
party. Banks v. Wolfe Cty. Bd. of Educ., 330 F.3d
888, 892 (6th Cir. 2003); see Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d
265 (1986) (finding that summary judgment is appropriate
whenever the nonmoving party fails to make a showing
sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential
to that party's case and on which that party will bear
the burden of proof at trial). Moreover, conclusory
allegations, speculation, and unsubstantiated assertions are
not evidence, and are not sufficient to defeat a
well-supported motion for summary judgment. See Lujan v.
Nat'l Wildlife Fed'n, 497 U.S. 871,
888, 110 S.Ct. 3177, 111 L.Ed.2d 695 (1990). In other words,
to defeat summary judgment, the party opposing the motion
must present affirmative evidence to support his or her
position; a mere “scintilla of evidence” is
insufficient. Bell v. Ohio State Univ., 351 F.3d
240, 247 (6th Cir. 2003). Under this standard, “the
mere existence of some factual dispute will not frustrate an
otherwise proper summary judgment [motion].”
Dunigan v. Noble, 390 F.3d 486, 491 (6th Cir. 2004)
(quotation marks and emphasis omitted) (citing
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247-48).
ruling on the dispositive motion of University Hospitals, the
Court must comment on the nature of Miller's
“opposition” to the motion. This opposition
document is styled as “Plaintiff's Response to
Defendant's Proposed Finding of Fact.” It consists
of lengthy, verbatim quotations from defendant's motion
with a few brief, inserted sections captioned
“disputed” wherein Miller makes conclusory
statements with broad citations such as “please see
record” or “[p]lease see exhibits (A - A
14)[.]” (Opp'n at 361, 365-67.) The first several
pages of Miller's “opposition”-styled as
“Declaration[s] of Frank Miller, Jr. pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1746”-are no more than verbatim copies of
the declarations of Heather Harmon and Heidi Gartland with
Miller's remarks interspersed.
this material meets the requirements of Fed.R.Civ.P. 56.
Nonetheless, despite Miller's inadequate opposition
brief, the Court will separately examine each of Miller's
claims in light of the arguments of University Hospitals to
ascertain whether there are any material factual disputes
that would preclude summary judgment. See Delphi Auto.
Sys., LLC v. United Plastics, Inc., 418 Fed.Appx. 374,
380-81 (6th Cir. 2011) (“[A] district court cannot
grant summary judgment in favor of a movant simply because
the adverse party has not responded. The court is required,
at a minimum, to examine the movant's motion for summary
judgment to ensure that he has discharged that
Claims Under Title VII and ADEA
Hospitals construes Miller's Title VII and ADEA claims as
being brought on the basis of race (African-America), sex
(male), and age (fifty-seven (57) years old). (MSJ at 254.)
Title VII makes it an unlawful employment practice to
“fail or refuse to hire or to discharge” an
individual because of that person's race or sex.”
42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1). Similarly, the ADEA makes it
an unlawful employment practice to ...